July 1, 2014

Review: Steeped in Evil

Steeped in Evil
A Tea Shop Mystery, Book 15
Laura Childs

Published: Feb, 2014

Wheeler Publishing, LT HC, 406p.
ISBN: 978-1-4104-6402-6

Theodosia Browning has never considered herself a wine connoisseur - tea has always been her forte.  But that doesn't nean she's going to pass up an ivitation to a wine tasting party at the Knighthall Winery.  A sweet evening takes on a bitter aftertaste when a dead body is discovered in a wine barrel.  The sone of proprietor Jordan Knight has been murdered.  Dissatisfied with the police investigation, Knight turns to Theo for help.  She's heard through the grapevine that there are family and business problems at Knighthall.  They say in vino veritas, but everyone at the winery seems to be lying through their teeth.

How does Theo keep getting pulled in to these messes?  After all these murder investigations that she's done either because of her own curiosity, or because people have asked her to, she should know by now that it's not good for her health to stick her nose into other people's business...  But if Theo said 'No!', then what kind of story would we have, eh?

I picked this book up from my local library yesterday (hence the Large Type) and found that once I got home I couldn't resist visiting with Theo and the gang.  There is just something so inviting about her Tea Shop and Hazelhurst cottage.  As usual, the run through of the recipes that Haley gives everyone sound delicious and have you drooling from the first course {I've still to make one of the recipes from the book, but I'll get there eventually!} and since I love Miss Dimple, I'm so glad she's made a return in this book.  Now I know that everyone seems to be going a little Downton Abbey crazy at the moment - and references to it keep popping up all over the place - but it seemed just right to host a Downton Abbey inspired tea at a Tea Shop.  If not here, where?  Of course I have yet to indulge in the series (yes, I know. Simmer down, I'm waiting for the boxed set) but it's moments like these that can really make a book.

The deliciously handsome Max Scofield spends more time with us in this book.  Like all Theo's previous beau's, Jory and Parker, he is less than impressed with Theo's need to delve into her dark little addiction of solving murders.  However he does seem to be more mature and less inclined to have jealous turns which is a blessing as Jory and Parker drove me potty.  I was surprised at the back seat that Det. Tidwell took this time.  He only makes a few appearances, but as always he is a presence you can't ignore.  Thankfully Delaine has more of a supporting role.  I know people love her, but she just annoys the heck out of me.  Her very pushy nature combined with her instant simpering (?) behaviour as soon as a cute man comes into the picture is quite tiresome.  However, because she is such a pushover for pets I'll let it slide.  She can't be all that bad if Earl Grey likes her, can she?

As to the murder and investigation - I really should address that, huh - I found that I disliked the right people from pretty much the get go.  The identity of our murderer came as no surprise to me, only the reason for it was.  I don't know why I this person caught my attention so early on, but I just had a 'feeling' about them.  Sometimes this works, sometimes I'm waaay off.  {It's so hard to talk about the identity of the murderer and NOT give away their identity!}  In this investigation Theo seems to be having more difficulty in locating not only the reason for the murder, but any clue as to who could have shot our victim.  With secrets being kept by everyone, Theo's in for a tough time.

Anyway, in the end it comes down to whether or not I enjoyed this book.  Happily I did, and even though the series does faulte times, I would recommend this series to anyone who loves a good cosy mystery, or a great cup of tea.

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